What A Guy Really Means When He Calls You “Intimidating”

When a guy calls you intimidating, it can feel like a bit of a low blow. What’s that even mean, anyway? Are you intimidating as in he wouldn’t want to try and take you in an arm wrestling match, or are you intimidating as in he’s pretty sure you could break his heart with no more than a wink and a smile? Intimidating girls of the world, unite — let’s get to the bottom of this mystery once and for all.

  1. “I’m a total jerk.” He might be calling you “intimidating,” but what he really means is he’s a coward who’s too afraid to admit it using the correct words. Instead of fessing up to being straight-up terrified — by you, his idea of you, or just by women in general — instead he chooses to put all of the blame for his fears in your corner. Which is totally unfair because, after all, it’s not your fault that he’s kind of being a little bitch.
  2. “You’re taller than me and I’m not comfortable enough in my masculinity to deal.” Size him up for a moment, literally — could this dude possibly be suffering from short man syndrome? Especially if you’ve been blessed with gorgeously long legs or you can really rock a pair of heels, he might just be feeling a little emasculated. Lucky for you, his ongoing struggle with his own sense of manliness isn’t your concern — so he can take his Napoleon complex somewhere else (can we recommend Russia?).
  3. “Your resting bitch face game is strong.” You might just be one of those girls who can truly radiate that “don’t talk to me” vibe,and he’s kind of impressed. Of course, if you’re sending out those signals on purpose and he still feels the need to let you know how much you scare him, you’re obviously not being intimidating enough. Time to step up your game!
  4. “Girl, who hurt you?” Some guys know that your tough girl facade is just there to keep you from getting hurt — because it’s happened too many times in the past. He just might think that calling you out on it will help him become the one who can finally break down all your walls… and all you can say is, “Good luck,” because those things are ten feet thick and made of steel-reinforced concrete.
  5. “I’m pretty sure you’re out of my league.” Not every kind of intimidating is necessarily bad — after all, we’d all like to be a little bit intimidatingly hot, right? If he’s checking you out nonetheless, he might be into you — but simultaneously doubtful that he would ever have a chance with a gal of your caliber. Sometimes, it sure is nice to have the upper hand.
  6. “I don’t get out much.” There are some dudes out there who find pretty much everyone intimidating… whether they actually are or not. If this is his opening line and he’s obviously nervous, he’s probably just not much of a people person… and his small talk skills are suffering from it.
  7. “A girl has never stood up to me before and I don’t know how to react.” When a guy isn’t used to a girl who can meet him on a level playing field — or even better, beat him at his own game — it’s pretty normal for him to be thrown for a loop. He might have been expecting you to be some kind of simpering airhead before, but now that he’s been faced with reality, he’s feeling a little outclassed (and he should be). This is a very common subtext when a guy calls you intimidating.
  8. “I’m used to women dealing with my BS without complaint.” Normally, he’d get away with the asinine behaviors that he pulls, but once he wises up to the fact that you don’t have a problem standing up for yourself, he starts to get anxious. If you won’t put up with him being a classless d-bag, what other crappy behaviors will he find himself unable to get away with?
  9. “I don’t know how to interact with a woman who isn’t a pushover.” He’s discovered that, unlike most women, he can’t get away with walking all over you… and he just straight-up does not know how to handle it. All of his normal games don’t work on you, and now that he’s realizing it, the fear is beginning to set in: he doesn’t know how to handle you and that’s scary for him.
  10. “I actually like you so much that it scares me.” Especially if he doesn’t usually fall so hard for a girl, being intimidating could be the greatest compliment he could give you. Guys get scared of being hurt, too, and if he’s already in this deep with you, the power you have over him could be totally terrifying.
  11. “I don’t trust myself not to mess this up.” Sometimes, it’s not you at all; it’s him. Often when a guy calls you intimidating, it’s only because he’s awfully nervous about his own ability to ruin it all. If screwing things up with you is his greatest fear, who could blame him for being intimidated? He can see what a good thing he’s got a chance with here — and he knows good and well what a mistake it would be to blow it.